Sep
24

Top 5 plug-in to delete duplicate contacts in Outlook

We know people like information and we know they like to communicate. One would barely argue the fact that success in life is largely predetermined by success in communication. And if you are seriously musing on improving the quality of your communication, there is one small niche in which something is already done for you. It may interest those for whom Microsoft Outlook has become an indispensable assistant at work or at home. If you don’t have any special reasons that may prevent you from using new helpful tools that will add speed and comfort to your work with Outlook, I have a little interesting offer for you. The matter concerns a group of Outlook plug-ins that can put order into your Outlook contacts, but not only this.

For today’s review I selected five Outlook plug-ins from different vendors that are intended for deleting duplicate contacts, all having trial versions. So let’s try them all and bring to light their strong and weak sides.

Add-in Version Developer Price Supports
Duplicates Remover for Outlook 2.5.0 MAPILab $25 Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002/XP, 2003 and 2007
No More Dupes 1.5.7 Wisco $29.95 Microsoft Outlook 2000, XP and 2003
Contacts Scrubber for Outlook 9.1 TeamScope $29.95 Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 and 2003
Contact De-duplicator 3.0.0 LBE Toolbox $14.99 Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 and 2003
Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook 3.0 Lookout software free Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003 and 2007

Duplicates Remover for Outlook from MAPILab

Supports:

  • Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007;
  • Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista.

Duplicates Remover for Outlook homepage

Many a time MAPILab Ltd. has made us feel happy with their add-ins, and their add-in for removing duplicates in Outlook didn’t become an exception either. In the Duplicates Remover for Outlook we have all those familiar things that are typical for all MAPILab’s plug-ins: the installation for one or all users, choice of languages (in their latest version the German language is added to English and Russian):
Language selection.

The installation wizard will show you where to look for the newly installed plug-in and how its icon looks like:
Add-in toolbar location

As shown in the screenshot, besides the add-in’s toolbar in Outlook, the Duplicates Remove for Outlook is also available from the Tools menu.

The process of removing duplicates in Outlook is based on a step-by-step wizard. On running the add-in you will see the first screen of the wizard:

Creating a new task.

Here you select types of folders in which you want to find duplicates. The following folders are available: Contacts, Journal Items, Tasks, Notes, Calendar.

You can search for duplicates in one folder or over a number of folders at a time. If you select two folders or more, the add-in will search in them according to their relative priority.

Choosing the mode of search for duplicates.

The next screen of the wizard asks you to select the Outlook folders to be searched for duplicates. You can see the tree of all folders of a particular type at a glance:

Choosing folders to be scanned.

After you selected the folders needed, you choose the action to be performed with found duplicate entries:

Choosing the action to be done for duplicates.

Also you have an option to apply the action to items created in a certain time period:

Specifying a time period.

At step 5, you are prompted to choose properties for comparison. The complete list of Outlook Contact fields is available: full name, first or last name, phone, attachment, notes etc.

Choosing properties for comparison.

The found duplicates are shown in the following window:

Found duplicate contacts

In the upper part of the window, you see duplicate entries, (duplicate contacts in our case) in the lower part – actions applied to the duplicates.

So, once again we have a wonderful add-in from MAPILab. Their Duplicates Remover seems to be a natural part of Microsoft Outlook itself: all is simple, logical and clear. The user can benefit from lots of features and customizable settings, and at the same time, all this abundance doesn’t cause any troubles: control over the add-in and all is functions is absolutely transparent for you. In addition to removing duplicate contacts the add-in can eliminate duplicates in e-mails, tasks and appointments.

No More Dupes from Wisco

Supports:

  • Microsoft Outlook 2000, XP, 2003;
  • Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, WindowsXP

No More Dupes homepage

The add-in installation went without a hitch. But after starting Outlook, the add-in’s toolbar for some reason appeared right in the middle of the screen:

Main menu

However after being put up onto the Outlook toolbar, it always remained there from then on:

Add-in menu button.

The No More Dupes menu has the following look:

Menu items

From all the options in the list, only the Search for duplicates option is purposed for working with duplicates. It doesn’t seem very logical, because to start searching for duplicates, you have to perform two actions instead of one: open the add-in’s menu and select this option. As for the other options you will hardly use them that often.

Help, in the usual sense, is not available. If you click on the NoMoreDupes on the Internet item, you will be taken to the user manual on the vendor’s web-site, where you can find a step-by-step user guide with screenshots in the Quickstart section. The Info item will give you information about the current version of the add-in, provide you with the technical support e-mail address and point you to the No More Dupes home page:

About window

The functions of the rest items are evident from their names.

Let’s check the add-in in action. On the first start, No More Dupes inquired if you want to update your current version and if you have an Internet connection:

Internet connection
Search for updates

So, you can always download the latest version of the add-in from its web-site. If you already have it installed, you can start working right away and check your Outlook contacts. Here is the main window of No More Dupes:
Assigning available folders.

At the first step you select the folders you want to be shown in the next dialog window. In the screenshot above, Outlook Archive Folders and Personal Folders are available for selection.

At further start-ups, No More Dupes can show you either all Outlook folder types or only those selected by you. Why the developers didn’t include this option in the subsequent dialog of selecting Outlook folders (shown on the screenshot below) remains a mystery for me. At the current state, you need to go through just another quite senseless step. In principle, the Assign available folders dialog can be easily switched off and not shown anymore. But then, what was it created for?

What you do next is selecting Outlook folders in which the add-in will search for duplicates:
Selecting folders for search.

By default, all Outlook folders are available, however the add-in doesn’t provide any additional options, except for searching in selected folders or across all folders. Search results are displayed in the next window:
Removing duplicate e-mails.

Found duplicated are grouped by nodes and all occurrences but for the first ones are automatically ticked off for removing. All first occurrences are colored in blue (see the screenshot above). A click on any duplicate entry opens a corresponding e-mail. In case you decide to delete something, the add-in saves a log-file with all the actions performed.
If to dismiss a bit illogical structure of menu windows, the No More Dupes add-in has managed to cope with the task of eliminating duplicates in Outlook contacts, appointments, e-mails, notes, tasks etc.

Contacts Scrubber for Outlook from TeamScope

Supports:

  • Windows Version: Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP;
  • Outlook Version: Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 and 2003. Outlook Express is not supported.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server: All versions of Microsoft Exchange Server

Contacts Scrubber for Outlook homepage

The installation went smoothly but after starting the add-in I didn’t see its toolbar in Outlook, though it did appear in the COM Add-ins list:

Teamscope Contacts Scrubber in the COM Add-ins list

Attempts to add its toolbar manually had no success either:

MS Outlook toolbars customization

First I thought I had managed to find the Contacts Scrubber for Outlook add-in in the Tools menu:

Teamscope Contacts Scrubber in the Tools menu

But later I found out that it is just one of its functions. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to try it: this option is available in a registered version only:

About window

According to the information from the vendor it works in the following way:

“When you select this menu option, Scrubber first looks for open Contact items. If it finds any open Contacts, it brings up a Scrubber merge window containing all of these open Contacts so that you can scrub them.
If no open Contact items are found, Scrubber looks at the current Outlook view. If it finds any selected (highlighted) Contacts, it brings up a Scrubber merge window containing all of these selected Contacts so that you can scrub them”.

Startup window

So, as clear from above, we don’t have an opportunity to evaluate a fully functional trial. Let’s go on with free Scrubber.

Somehow or other, the plug-in was started via the MS Windows Start menu.

The main window of the add-in has the following look:

Main window

To start working, you need to select the current Outlook folder. You can do it through File -> Select Current Outlook folder:

Selecting current Outlook folder.

Contact Scrubber, as its name suggests, works with Outlook contacts only. For correct work of this plug-in you need to have Contacts as your current Outlook folder, otherwise you will see the following error message:

Error message

Well then, after making Contacts the current folder, let’s try the plug-in again. In the screenshot bellow, you can see the result of the Contact Scrubber work with no duplicates found. Looking at the add-in’s window, it’s hard to understand if it is ready to work (if the Contacts folder is selected), you can only do it by reading the window title.

Search results

If, nevertheless, duplicates are found, all duplicate groups will be displayed in the add-in’s window:

Comparing Outlook Contacts fields.

And this is that differs the Contacts Scrubber for Outlook from all other add-ins in the review. The point is, the Contacts Scrubber allows not just comparison by all fields, but also make possible to eliminate duplicates by creating one correct Outlook contact that can be assembled from different parts of existing contacts, just like you make Meccano models. For duplicated fields the following actions are available: opening the contact, selecting all fields, excluding some columns from merging.

Selecting the action.

So, the zest of this plug-in is very interesting and efficient approach to eliminating duplicates in Outlook contacts. As to any other functions, the add-in simply doesn’t have any. Such an extremely specialized tool we have. But, leave aside the Duplicates Remover for Outlook
from MAPILab, no other add-in works better with Outlook contacts than the Contacts Scrubber.

Contact De-duplicator from LBE Toolbox

Supports:

  • Windows 95/98/Me/NT4/2000/XP
  • Outlook 2000/XP/2003

Contact De-duplicator homepage

The installation was OK, no problems arose. This add-in can be started from the Start menu or by clicking on its icon on the desktop, because the Contact De-duplicator is not the add-in in the true sense of the word.

The first window informs you about some limitations of the trial version and offers to purchase a fully-functional license. The limitations are in showing the message below at every start-up of the add-in and processing only up to 20 items at a time.
LBE Contact De-duplicator: Startup window

The main window of the add-in looks like this:
LBE Contact De-duplicator: Main window

To start searching for duplicates in Outlook contacts, you need to tick the necessary folders and contacts options, and then choose the action. After that, all you need to do is to click the Start button.

The ability to look at the log of all executed actions looks quite promising:
LBE Contact De-duplicator: Log of executed actions

The main drawback of this plug-in, as I see it, is the mechanism of running the Contact De-duplicator: can’t say is very comfortable. In addition to absolutely unnecessary switching between Outlook and the desktop, not all contacts options are available.

Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook from Lookout software

Supports:

  • Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista (Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 or higher required).
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003 or 2007.

Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook homepage

It is the only free plug-in in our today’s review. Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook just asks you to register and, in exchange for your name, e-mail, and your company name will send you a registration code. All you need is to fill in a small registration form and wait for a registration e-mail from its developers.

Anti-Dupe is a standalone applications and you will never detect its traces in your Outlook. In can be run only by clicking on its icon in the Start menu, Quick Launch toolbar or on the desktop.

Its main window looks like this:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Main window

As is evident from the screenshot above, you cannot choose criteria for searching duplicates. They are available all at once or unavailable at all.

The Delete Duplicates button evokes the dialog of selecting the Outlook folder in which the plug-in will search for duplicates:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Selecting folders

You can choose only one Outlook folder from the given list. The New button shows the dialog of creating a new folder.

An attempt to find duplicates in the Inbox folder evoked the following message:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Alert

Built-in Help is missing in the Anti-dupe tool. I referred to the description of this software on the developers’ web-site, but still was unable to find out why this message came up. But then, at my second attempt, all went OK:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Search result

After that I created two duplicate e-mails in my Junk folder and two duplicate Outlook contacts. Looking at the main window where all Outlook folders can be selected for search I, naturally, ticked Contacts and Mail, logically assuming it goes this way. However, it turned out that only one folder can be selected:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Selecting folders.

I selected Contacts. What happened next was rather disappointing:

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Outlook security warning

That nasty Outlook security warning! :( Strange, but even after clicking Yes, my specially created duplicate contact was not found.

Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Search result

Then I came up with a bright idea regarding the algorithm of search implemented in Anti-Dupe, and created two totally identical contacts. All fields were absolutely the same. It is hardly possible to have such absolute duplicates in real life, unless you strongly wish to have them and make some efforts to create something like this, because at every such attempt Outlook will immediately inform you:

Outlook duplicate contact alert

After saving this fully identical contact, I did get the expected result:
Lookout Software Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook: Search result

Thus, for removing real duplicates in Outlook contacts, this plug-in is absolutely of no use. At this I decided to stop any further acquaintance with Anti-Dupe. Unfortunately, this is the case when free software can save your money but not your time.

Duplicates Remove for Outlook No More Dupes Contacts Scrubber for Outlook Contact De-duplicator Anti-Dupe for MS Outlook
Installation 5 of 5 4 of 5 4 of 5 4 of 5 4 of 5
Usability 5 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 4 of 5 3 of 5
Functionality 5 of 5 4 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 3 of 5
Total 5 3.6 3.6 4 3.3

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